“Your body is your most faithful friend…the sacred vessel that holds your spirit. I can think of few things more worthy of your devotion.” – Tieraona Low Dog, MD Center for Integrative Medicine
I have wrestled with the question of why I am witnessing a profound increase in conditions like diabetes, chronic joint and bodily pain, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, auto-immune conditions, and many other chronic conditions in my patients. Despite being told we have a sophisticated and technologically advanced health care system, we have an undeniable epidemic of chronic disease, that is stealing our health and the health of future generations. Where do we begin, when attempting to unravel the causes for this stark increase?
Over the last year, we have heard almost continuously about the “novel coronavirus.” We have come to fear this invisible enemy.
However, I believe it is not the latest microbe, virus, or pathogen we should be worried about. In fact, the viruses that plagued our ancestors are living symbiotically within, and among us right now. Viruses in particular have been continually mutating and present a moving target for scientists to attempt to subdue or eradicate. Viruses depend on a host to replicate and therefore they do not aim to kill their host.
In earlier times, we had plagues of all kinds and the focus was on creating medicines to eliminate or subdue the disease-causing pathogens. This is what the practice of early medicine was based on and thankfully, it was highly successful. Because of this, we may come to view all viruses and bacteria as disease-causing. The truth is some cause life-threatening diseases, and some do not. Some may actually help us fight other diseases. Many become part of our microbiome, along with bacteria and fungi. We are just beginning to understand the importance of the microbiome in our overall health.
So, in summary, Science will always need to work on advancements in controlling deadly contagious diseases, however, I feel we have neglected the factors that have led to the dire predicament of escalating disease that is slowly and steadily stealing our health and longevity.
The foundational problem lies with Systemic Inflammation and a toxic body burden that creates a perfect internal environment for disease to take root. It is not the latest ‘bug’ that is threatening us as much as it is the fact that we have ignored the internal milieu of the body and have failed to create a healthy internal terrain that resists disease. Unlike the earlier days, when most deaths were caused by microbes, and doctors and scientists saved the day, present-day medicine does not enjoy a successful track record in preventing and reversing chronic disease, the primary cause of death, shortened life spans, and reduced quality of life.
As a health care practitioner and also a patient within the health care system, I have both experienced and witnessed the shortcomings of traditional medical practices. I have taken on the mission of researching the ways we can reduce and reverse this chronic disease trend. What are the practical ways I can positively influence my patient’s health trajectory? I walk this road every day myself and would not ask any of my patients to do what I am unwilling to do.
After many years of clinical experience, education, and enduring countless hours on my computer, I am excited to share that I have published a best-selling book, Staying Healthy, Living Longer- 7 Powerful Principles for a Healthier You!
Using my own health challenges, stories of patients I have treated, and my studies in Functional Medicine I have outlined a framework that can set you on course for a healthier life.
My book will teach you how to:
- Build a Body that Resists disease using 7 time-tested and proven principles, regardless of your age!
- Unlearn the beliefs and habits that contribute to sickness, dis-ease, and lack of fulfillment.
- Gain the tools necessary for healthy eating to reverse disease and attain lifelong health.
- Learn to love movement and reap the rewards of exercise in simple, practical ways.
- Build muscular strength and resiliency and restore your energy reserves.
- Awaken to how you might heal the body, mind, and spirit, which is the essence of true and complete healing.
I believe we can positively affect our healthspan, life span, and the aging process with some simple strategies. Regardless of your present health status, you can make a positive difference if you apply the information in this book.
It is available on AMAZON as a paperback, hardcover, and Kindle download. For a limited time during the launch period, Discounts are available! Please share with family and friends!
You can also find it through my website: mdtherapyandwellness.com
To your healing, health, and peace.❣
DO you know which diet has been studied extensively for its health benefits?
Can you name which regional foods have proven in repeated studies to reduce heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, and even chronic pain?
The diet consumed by those who live near the Mediterranean sea has earned the reputation of reducing inflammation, improving diabetes, reducing the incidence of heart disease, obesity, and even reducing chronic pain and the bone-thinning of osteoporosis. This mostly plant-based diet boasts many benefits. See the illustration below.*
With Valentines Day, right around the corner, now is a wonderful time to think about heart health. Take a moment to consider how your diet, sleep quality, stress levels, emotional state, relationships and connections, are nurturing your heart health. Do your self care activities need a boost? What can you improve?
I believe nutrition is a key element in preventing and even reversing many of the chronic lifestyle diseases we have come to associate with ‘normal’ aging. Aging is an accumulation of inflammatory insults that are brought about by our environment, lifestyle, stress, toxins, and the diet we consume.
3 times per day we have an opportunity to fuel health, vitality and longevity or fatigue, disease, and premature aging, simply by the foods we consume.
Next week I will discuss, Osteoporosis, just one of the many conditions, like heart disease, that have been shown to benefit from the Mediterranean diet. I invite you to learn what the latest studies and evidence are suggesting on how to prevent, manage and reverse bone thinning and frailty. You can sign up for the class “Building a Strong Skeleton, A Holistic Approach to Prevention and Management of Osteoporosis“, and attend at home through ZOOM. You may sign up at http://www.grandlearning.org/
In my soon to be released book, Staying Healthy, Living Longer, I discuss the critical decisions we make, all within our control, that significantly impact our health, energy levels, and quality of life as we get older. In my book, you will learn powerful, yet practical tools to slow the aging process and reduce body-wide inflammation. The Mediterranean diet is one important piece of the ” lifestyle medicine” we must adopt if we are to avoid the normal increases in inflammation as we age.
Pre-Order my book on AMAZON at a discounted rate for a limited time! http://amazon.com/dp/B08VC6PYWJ/
Below is a useful Infographic from Shapeable that clearly illustrates just some of the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet.
“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” – Ann Wigmore
Make it a healthier day! ❤ Contact me: https://mdtherapyandwellness.com
*Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet:
Image via: ShapeAble
Image via: ShapeAble
Exciting Update on Book Launch!
Regardless of how you have classified this past year, “good”, “terrible” or somewhere in between, it is now for all of us, in the rear view mirror. The infamous year, 2020, is in the history books and we are now about 2 weeks into a New Year. As humans we have always looked forward to new beginnings and a fresh slate on which to construct a better way. What is your vision and hope for this year?
We can only thrive when we have hope and trust that our actions will move things in a positive direction. We may not be able to control many things that are happening all around us, but we can control our thoughts and actions.
Now more than ever in my career, I am seeing a genuine interest among people, in building better health and reducing the chances of disease. Despite this, I am also seeing now more than ever, increases in physical pain and ailments like back pain, neck pain, and muscular pain. What is contributing to the rise in chronic pain in general?
There is no simple answer for this. What we do know is that since the arrival of this virus, people are experiencing heightened levels of stress, anxiety and fear. There have been increases in consumption of sugars, alcohol, and processed, comfort foods with concomitant decreases in exercise, positive social interactions, and outdoor recreation. Can this unfortunate combination of conditions increase inflammation and with it, the bodily response of pain?
I believe it can. Let me explain just a couple of the mechanisms at work, so we can focus on solutions.
- Diet is the number one cause of systemic inflammation, which is the precursor to disease and pain. This is an undisputed fact. Processed foods, are notoriously high in inflammatory omega 6 fats like the seed oils ( corn, sunflower, safflower, grapeseed, soybean…) and low in anti-inflammatory omega 3 oils such as avocado and olive oils. In addition, processed foods have an abnormally high content of sugar and simple carbohydrates. Sugar and it’s counterparts, brown rice syrup, and corn syrup are inflammatory to cells, causing a rapid rise in insulin, promoting insulin resistance or pre-diabetes. Many of these foods are void of nutrients, cause nutritional deficiencies, and yet are high in caloric density.
2. Exercise and Muscle Building activities are Anti-inflammatory and provide a host of countless benefits. Exercise is a potent outlet for stress reduction, release of toxins, oxygenation to the tissues, improved lung and cardiovascular capacity, and improved function of mitochondrial cells ( our energy manufacturing cells) and therefore energy production. Exercise enhances mobility, strength and bolsters the immune system, provided it is not a prolonged or extreme intensity. Exercise, especially when outdoors in the sunshine, improves mood, stress coping skills and reduces pain perception. Strength training enhances how joints function, reduces the strain on the joints and often prevents or halts the progression of arthritis.
3. Stress, you will often hear me say, is the Unofficial Grim Reaper. What does this mean?
Unabated, chronic stress and worry pack a perilous punch of lowering the immune system, ramping up inflammation, increasing the incidence of insomnia, and escalating chronic pain and disease. Need I say more? Our perception of the events that are occurring around us gives rise to a physiological response by the body. If our interpretation of events is negative, resistant, critical, angry, or feeling victimized, the resulting biological response will be elevation of blood pressure, elevation of blood sugar, activation of the fight or flight mechanism, and reduction of immune disease fighting cells.
Many of us are living in the future or past and are precariously perched on the edge of our worries and fears. The brain is designed for our survival and therefore fear and worry may easily be our default mode. Our minds are the first frontier to conquer if we are to be successful in any area of our life. Our minds will offer up many thoughts in the course of a day, we don’t have to believe them all. Although difficult, we can choose the thoughts and beliefs that move us in a positive direction.
If you are finding that your health goals are off to a slow start or if you are feeling mentally or physically unprepared to tackle the habits and behaviors you need to succeed, you are in good company.
Here are 5 simple ways you can move toward a healthier future and manage pain significantly better.
- Move. Exercise, even if it to simply get outside and walk. Perform body weight exercises, or work out with resistance bands or weights. Since many gyms are closed, this will be challenging, but you knew that already. Do it anyway. Even if 10 minutes twice a day is all you can do.
- Meditate. Start and end the day with 5-10 minutes of mindful breathing and visualization. Perhaps include a meditation like the loving kindness meditation. Many studies have demonstrated that meditation is highly effective for chronic pain, especially when exacerbated by stress. It changes the structure and function of the brain by decreasing activity in the fear brain and brains’ pain processing center.
- Nutrition first. This must be a priority! Reduce inflammatory sugars and omega 6 inflammatory oils. Stop eating nutrient void, dead, processed foods from a box or bag. Instead, eat lean protein sources and increase vegetable intake. This is not a diet, it is a decision. Watch your motivations for eating, often they will circle back to an emotional state. Understanding this is the first step to over ruling it.
- Stay hydrated. Our organs, tissues, discs and cartilages are 60-80% water and we require adequate water for normal functioning of our cells and detox organs. Dehydration contributes to pain and stiffness.
- Sleep, Rest, Relax. Seems easy enough but for many who find themselves in the midst of challenges, or experiencing pain, it is far from easy. Sleep is restorative to the body and reduces pain. You have to move your nervous system away from ‘fight or flight’ or the state of sympathetic dominance, toward the parasympathetic state of ‘rest, repair, and digest’. If you want to feel your best, you MUST make sleep and relaxation a priority! For starters, turn off all electronic devices at least 1 hour before bed. Stop watching the news, which is designed to hijack your fear brain and cause rumination and anxiety. Create a space that is conducive to sleep and relaxation. Use your favorite music track, nature sounds, essential oils, a cool, dark atmosphere, a weighted blanket, centering meditation and/or prayer or a warm bath of Epsom salts. Find something that is most comforting for you, that promotes peace and tranquility.
Be kind and gentle with yourself as you embark on change. Small steps, repeated consistently over time, reap BIG results. Every new day is a gift that we are given. We get to choose how to show up.
I am excited to announce that my new book, Staying Healthy, Living Longer 7 Powerful Principles for Living Longer! will be released within the month. This book will deconstruct the mysteries of why we are tired, overweight, in pain, or simply not feeling our best. You will learn the tools you need to transform your health and achieve a longer, healthier life!
You can pre-order my book NOW! (with discounts) at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08VC6PYWJ/
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